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Highlights Of The Year: 2016

It took me a long time to figure out who I am. It’s funny, because now I know, I can see all the strands of what intrinsically make up that person stretching back all 27 years. There are memes about how bad 2016 has been. All the pop stars have died, Trump prevailed, we’ve left Europe for freakssake, the situation in Syria is dire and the world is broken in many places. For all these reasons and more, I’m excited to embark upon 2017 – there’s something ever so hopeful about starting a new year, a blank page, a renewed ‘Let’s do this!’ But for me, 2016 will also be the year it finally all kind of clicked.

Looking back on my years on this planet, it’s all quite murky. I feel like – and I wonder if this is what everyone feels like at some point – but like I was just stumbling on. I had no idea who I was, what I liked, who I wanted to be. I’ve ended up here, aka having some semblance what the f*ck is going on – in ‘career’ and in life – by saying ‘yes’ and working my ass off and trying my best every single time, even when that trying of the best translated to frantically Googling ‘How To’s’ in office bathrooms and panicking under my duvet at night.

I came across this quote recently and I feel like it’s kind of summing up: “It’s about work–the constant trying. You work and you love and try and maybe happiness finds you. You don’t aim for it. It finds you on the right street at the right time. You work and you study and you try and maybe it’s good or great–sometimes bad. It’s rare to be great, but it can find you if you work. Life is work.”

Another: “I never change, I simply become more myself.”

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This year, I feel like not only can I see the puzzle pieces but I can kinda see how they fit in, too, and maybe, just maybe, some have slotted into place already. And it feels so, so good. I fought for this. I deserve it. Of course, there’s still a long way to go and I be no means profess to having figured it all out, but any progress in the right direction is still worth the nod. Why should it just be the negative things in our lives that get the attention?

2016’s highlights…

Talking Numbers

They / I / we all say it’s important not to define yourself by numbers. And it’s true. But it’s impossible to deny that numbers are an indication. As Lil Wayne once said: “Women lie, men lie, number’s don’t lie.”

Aaaaand so I was very happy to see (through working my ass off, don’t get it wrong, this wasn’t *luck*), that my numbers – more specifically, the views to alyamooro.com and the number of followers on my Instagram page (@moorizzla) have gone aaall the way up.

Page views on alyamooro.com have increased x6 (!!) since this time last year, whereas I now have 12k followers on Instagram, up from 4k this time last year.

I guess now is a good opportunity to say thank youuu for reading, for commenting, for agreeing and disagreeing and challenging and encouraging me to grow. For liking my photos on Instagram, for sharing interesting thoughts and pieces with me and being part of this journey that is life. Lol barf and etc but I’m feeling emosh in these last few days of 2016 and sometimes, just sometimessss, maybe it’s okay to show. So thanks.

Signed to Nevs Models

Ever since I can first remember I’ve ALWAYS wanted to model. But I never felt I was tall enough / skinny enough & etc. And so (I can’t believe it was only this long ago) when I realised I could pseudo model for alyamooro.com around two years ago, I embarked with fervour, posting numerous What I Wore‘s and shooting with pretty much everyone and everyone. Including, this year, some prettttty awesome photographers including Hanna Hillier, Sammi Swar, Aisha Al Shabrawy, Moeez Ali, Phillip Raheem and Kiran Gidda. This year, I also worked with some super cool brands the likes of G-Star and Nike, and signed on as brand ambassador for gorgeous jewellery brand Goldie Rox.

WHAT A WORLD that putting in 10,000 hours can get you what you want, AND in your own freaking way. I culminated 2016 by signing to Nevs Models who represent the likes of Calum Best, Daili Perez, Nicholas Pinnock, and more as a model on their special bookings board. Needless to say I’m super excited to see what 2017 brings.

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Wrote for lots of awesome publications

I feel like 2016 was also the year I figured out what the hell I actually wanted to say. I’ve always been a writer, long before I knew proper sentence structure and how to spell, I’ve been a writer. Now what to write about exactly, that’s been in a state of evolution. But like I said, it’s interesting how once you’ve got it figured out, you can see the strands go aaall the way back.

This year, I think I really started to hone on in where my interests and specialities lie in journalism, and I wrote some pieces I’m pretty proud of for some amazing publications including The Washington Post, Broadly, Headspace, Refinery29 and more.

My fave articles I’ve had published this year:

Why I’ll never again post about my relationships on social media for The Washington Post

My friends don’t ask about me anymore because they think they see everything on social media for The Debrief

How to hold your own as a woman in hip hop. An interview with Karen Civil for Dazed.

What I learned when I tried shooting for my fashion blog in Egypt for Refinery29

A look into why it hurts to be unfollowed for Headspace

How the Egyptian revolution impacted its young women for The Debrief

Can I be a rap fan and a feminist? For The Debrief

Why 2016 was the year we became obsessed with celeb merch for Refinery29

Why fashion brands are catering more to Muslim consumers for Refinery29

7 scientific reasons why reading is good for you for The Debrief

Acting deputy editor at Closer Online

This September I also had the opportunity to fill in as acting deputy editor at Closer Online. I’m not gonna lie, the idea was pretty daunting, to say the least. Made all the more so by the fact that there wasn’t actually an Editor, either, leaving me somewhat wholly responsible. What, little old me, look after an entire – hugely popular – website, AND all the people who were working on it? WHAT.

But I’m all about the challenge, and I’m a big believer in the saying: “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” Which is why I tried my very, very best, and learnt a whole lot on the way.

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Interviewed some inspirational people

I used to do loooads of interviews back when I specialised in music journalism, interviewing everyone from the up and comers to pretty much the top. I don’t really do that many interviews anymore, unless and until someone pretty special comes along. So when the opportunities arose to interview Karen Civil – Media maven and entrepreneur not to mention BFFs with the likes of Lil Wayne – and Baddie Winkle, the 88-year-old great-grandmother who had birthed herself a new life via Instagram, I obviously rose to the bait. My interview with Karen in particular was particularly memorable. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and picked up tons of inspiration during our hour or so long conversation.

Read my interview with Karen Civil here and my interview with Baddie Winkle here.

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Fashion Week-ing

Fashion Week is still pretty new to me. In amongst the seemingly jaded passers by, I still get excited to receive invitations to attend shows and events (in and out of fashion week.) This year I attended London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week (the latter for the very first time!) And it was amazing. So, so tiring, but amazing. Oh, and The Telegraph selected me as one of their best dressed at LFW AW16. See their piece here.

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Radio Guest-ing

I remember the first time I went on live radio, I was soooo nervous. I was also pretty nervous for each of the three radio appearances I made in 2016, but progressively a little less so each time. (Maybe that’s the *real* achievement here?) I joined Jamz Supernova on BBC 1xtra for the ‘DIY Generation’ segment of her show in which she speaks to people who have created careers for themselves, in their own way. I also joined Joss on Hoxton Radio to have a chat about all things career and life. Last month, I was also asked to take part in a debate on Mim Shaik’s BBC Asian Network show about the epic fuck up that was the Evening Standard’s review of Skepta’s show.

You can listen back to the debate on the BBC Asian Network here.

A video posted by A L Y A M O O R O (@moorizzla) on

Attended lots of fab events

Sometimes the lines get blurred between what’s fun and what’s work. It’s a super lucky and rare thing for me to be able to say that, I’m well aware. It’s not always easy, but it is amazing. This year, I attended some pretty awesome events including travelling to Paris with Lacoste for the unveiling of the French Olympic team uniforms, the Tatler Kings and Queens Party, the infamous Glamour Awards as a guest of Cointreau and the FendiRumi launch at Harrods, among others.

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Saw (More Of) The World

From seeing in 2016 in Miami to travelling to Ibiza, the south of France and Egypt, I saw a little bit more of the world this year.

“I read; I travel; I become” 

Check out my travel guides to Miami, Ibiza and the South of France.

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I’m going to Amsterdam to bring in the new year and I’m super excited about it! If you’ve got any recommendations for things to do, see, eat, let me know in the comments below!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful festive season and I wish you aaall the best for the coming year. Thank you for reading (today / last month / ever) and I’ll see you in 2017! xxx

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